In a game that can only be described as wild, the Terrapins allowed a 23-point halftime lead to be nearly erased in the second half before putting the game out of reach in the final moments. Maryland survived coughing up four turnovers, all by Freshmen, en route to a 36-27 victory over Temple.
The win was an improbable one, as the Terps were ten-point underdogs heading into the game. This was after the Owls came in to College Park last season and beat down the Terps by a score of 38-7.
The game took fans on the high’s and low’s of starting so many freshmen. Quarterback Perry Hills had a great bounce-back game after the three interceptions in the season opener. Hills finished 11-for-21 with 190 yards and two touchdown passes and also added an 11-yard touchdown run.
Unfortunately for the Maryland coaching staff some of the other freshmen weren’t as lucky. Running Back Wes Brown, who saw his first action on offense of the year, finished with an impressive 7.1 yards per carry today, but had two crucial fumbles that forced Head Coach Randy Edsall to sit him for the final eight minutes of the game.
Brown’s fumbles allowed starter Justus Pickett to rack up 20 carries for the Terps today, but like last week, didn’t get it going until the fourth quarter where he had 36 of his 69 yards on the day. Pickett also had the final touchdown of the game that sealed the win.
Wide Receiver and returner Stefon Diggs had another stellar game, despite a fumble on a punt return. The star freshman had 137 yards all-purpose yards on just nine touches today. After last week — and more specifically, after the first half — that total amount of touches is a disappointment. In the first half it seemed like every time Diggs had the ball in his hands something big happened, a first down or big return.
The second half saw the Terrapins, not only get away from Diggs on offense, but their offensive identity as a whole. The Terps became incredibly conservative in the second half, and played like a team that wasn’t used to playing with a lead. The one constant throughout the rough second half was the play of the defensive front seven from Maryland.
As completely inept as the secondary looked for Maryland, the front seven was the exact opposite. Maryland held Temple to just 1.3 yards per carry today, and forced two fumbles, a safety and blocked punt. Maryland’s secondary, unfortunately, was torched when the front seven couldn’t provide enough pressure. Temple had just seven completions, but they went for an average of 25.4 yards.
The defensive line, led by Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis were consistently getting pressure against Temple’s Quarterback Chris Coyer. Linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield got his second straight game-ending turnover after he intercepted Coyer’s final pass with two minutes to go.
The secondary was also an issue in the game against William & Mary, and one that looks like it will not go away all season. The front seven will have to consistently get pressure on quarterback’s in the future to mask that problem.
Obviously this game could have turned out much differently, but the perseverance of the team is something special. I don’t think the 2011 version of these Terrapins wins that game. In fact, we know they wouldn’t (See: NC State). The Edsall Bowl is up next as the Terps welcome UConn to College Park.
For more on the Terrapins or to continue the debate, follow Brendan Darr on Twitter: @BrendanDarr